January

 18  “Muskets, Maneuvers and Misconceptions” 

 2:00  p.m.

Jerry Mullen, former teacher at BHS, will present a talk on some of the mistakes in navigation that were instrumental to the forming of Vermont, the kinds of weapons used by the Green Mountain boys, and later during the Revolution in the Northern Army district. 

“The tactical use of these weapons is interesting,” Mullen says.  “The Hollywood version, such as we saw in The PATRIOT a few years ago seems to have become the mythology of America.  When we found copies of Lord Sir William Howe’s LIGHT INFANTRY MANUAL we were totally amazed at how modern the tactics of that period had become.  The only movie that comes close to portraying 18th Century war as it was in the Champlain Valley was NORTHWEST PASSAGE in 1939!   If Robert Rogers should ever come back and not look like Spencer Tracy, he’ll be denounced as an imposter.”

“One of the most persistent misconceptions deals with the American Long Rifle,” Mullen continued.  “More lies have been told about these weapons than any other in history.  Modern studies of the ballistics of round lead balls, and contemporary accounts show that these expensive, custom-made rifles would rarely hit man-sized targets at anything over about 180 yards.”

The talk will be illustrated with original and reproduction muskets and long rifles of the period, and slides of reenactments to show the equipment and uniforms. 

Since retiring from BHS, Mr. Mullen has indulged his interest in American History by helping found a recreation of Colonel Seth Warner’s extra Continental Regiment, the only Continental regiment to be recruited in what is now Vermont.  Numbering some 40 members of history enthusiasts, the unit’s members present talks at schools, take part in encampments and some do active research using the National Archives, Library of Congress and other collections of original information that is now coming online.